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Native American and Alaska Native Heritage Month, Grades K-5

Explore Native American Culture with the Following Lessons, Activities, and Resources

Found In: Language Arts & Literature, Social Studies, PreK-2, 3-5

November is Native American Month and Alaska Native Heritage Month. Estimates of the population of the Western Hemisphere prior to the arrival of Europeans range from 8 million to more than 100 million. Cultures were as varied as the stationary Mayas in the Yucatan and the nomadic Plains Indians in North America. Explore Native American culture with the following lessons, activities, and resources.

Lesson Plans

Every Native Vote Counts: Teachers Guide & Lesson Plans
Resources to revitalize civic engagement among native peoples including tailored curriculum and lesson plans for grades K-8 to teach youth about the unique history and importance of the Native vote. 

Diagram It! Identifying, Comparing, and Writing About Nonfiction Texts
Students in grades K-2 use an interactive Venn diagram to compare nonfiction books and fiction about Native Americans.

Create Your Own Native American Board Game
Students in grades K-5 research and use basic elements of a selected Native American tribe to create an original board game.

Native Americans Today
Students in grades 3-5 compare prior knowledge of Native Americans with information gathered while reading about contemporary Native Americans.

Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text
Students in grades 3-5 use traditional stories of Native peoples to begin a study of animals in Alaska.

Additional Lesson Plan Units

Native American Dolls ( PDF, 1.72 MB, 28 pgs.)
Students in grades K-12 explore the perspectives and experiences of Native doll makers from five tribal groups and discover how their work is keeping old traditions and developing new ones.

Pourquoi Stories: Creating Tales to Tell Why
Students in grades 3-5 study three tales and learn about their cultures of origin, then work cooperatively to write and present an original pourquoi tale.

Prehistoric Native American Lesson Plan: Pottery-making Methods ( PDF, 295 KB, 5 pgs.)
Students in grades 3-12 experiment with three methods ancient people used to make pottery before the invention of the pottery wheel.

Native American Cultures Teacher's Guide
In this unit, students in grades 3-12 explore ancient and modern-day Native American cultures of New Mexico, Utah, and Washington.

WebRangers Teachers' Resource Guide
 ( PDF, 1.2 MB, 109 pgs.)


Background Resources

Native American Heritage Month
Resources provided by the Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Features audio and video files.

A History of Native Voting Rights
Provides a brief history of the difficulties Native Americans have faced in voting since the passage of the 14th Amendment.

Native Americans - Themed Resources - For Teachers (Library of Congress)
Primary source sets, lessons, exhibitions and presentations, and background information for students.

Twenty Tens Take on Native Americans
A blog providing information about the Plains, Southeastern, Southwestern, and Northeastern Native Americans, lesson plans, and children’s literature. Pages contain advertising.

Smithsonian Education - American Indian Heritage Teaching Resources
Free audio tracks and videos featuring Native communities from the Arctic to the Andes, indigenous geography, artic studies, textiles of the Southwest, traditional culture of the Bering Sea Eskimo People, buffalo hide paintings, and more

Charles C. Mann, author of 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus and 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, presents current evidence about population and agricultural advancement in the Western Hemisphere prior to European arrival.

Printables & Posters


261 North American Indian Designs
Inexpensive collections of Native American designs adapted from textile patterns, wood carvings, ceramics, and other traditional craft forms.

American Indian Books
Dover Publications catalog has 202 books for American Indians, including backline masters, stories, CD-ROMs, crafts, games, and activities.



Native American Cultures
12 brief videos

last updated: October 10, 2019


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Native Nations and American Schools: The History of Natives in the American Education System

Native Education 101: Basic facts about the education of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. (1st ed.) Authored and copyrighted by the National Indian Education Association (2016).

This document serves as a guide for educators to utilize responsive education strategies and understand their Native students